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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
A Deputy can be appointed by the Court of Protection to manage a person’s financial affairs when they are unable to manage them themselves. The person whose financial affairs are being managed is called the protected party.
The Deputy can be a family member or friend Often where there is a lot of money to be managed such as after a personal injury settlement, a professional Deputy can be appointed.
So what happens when things change?
Stepping down as a Deputy
A Deputy may need to be replaced if they have died, are in ill health, it is no longer appropriate for them to act, or if they are a Professional Deputy who wishes to retire from practice or cannot continue in their role due to other work commitments.
An application will need to be made to the Court of Protection explaining why the Deputy can no longer act and putting forward a replacement Deputy for the Court to consider whether they would be a suitable replacement.
The Court always looks at what is in the best interests of the protected party.
Replacing your Deputy
Sometimes the protected party or their family wish to replace the appointed Deputy.
This can be for a number of reasons, such as the relationship between the protected party, or their family, and the Deputy may have broken down.
Another reason could be the cost of the professional deputy. The family may feel that another Professional Deputy, based in a regional rather than a London firm, would be a cheaper option in the long term because they charge lower hourly rates. This could be an important factor particularly when managing a personal injury settlement that has to support the protected party for the rest of their life.
Another option could be a family member who has been acting as a Lay Deputy with a Professional Deputy may feel that now the management of the protected party’s money has been established they could take over the management of it with only occasional guidance from a professional – thereby reducing costs.
The Court always looks at the best option for the protected party and reducing costs to ensure their money last longer can be a factor.
Removing a Deputy
It may be that the protected party does not feel that they need someone to manage their money for them. Their medical condition may have improved and they may have developed skills to enable them to manage their own money. The Deputy may have supported them in doing this to promote their independence.
The Court will need evidence that they have capacity to manage their own finances before it makes an order removing the Deputy or it may feel that the protected party needs to develop more skills before taking control of their finances.
The Court must balance the best interests of the protected party (in ensuring their money can be properly managed) with the protected party’s rights and mental capacity to take control of their finances.
For more advice on appointing, removing and replacing your Deputy please contact Veronica Male, our Court of Protection specialist, on 01788 557 574 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.